Instructables
Picture of Learn New Testament Greek
An ability to use the Greek of the New Testament is a great help in studying the Bible. Most pastors are required to study the Koine' Greek common during the First Century when the New Testament was first set down on vellum and papyrus. Many lay people have a desire to learn Greek so they can study the Bible more deeply.

Below is the Greek text of John 15:1-7

I did not mention the Old Testament because it was first written in Hebrew, and learning it is another subject.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Learn Greek or use some Greek language tools?

Picture of Learn Greek or use some Greek language tools?
What do you really want to do and how much time do you want to invest? You may be able to satisfy your needs by learning to use some available tools that do not require actually learning Greek.

Below is a screen shot from a Wikipedia article on James Strong and Strong's Concordance. Strong assigned a number to each Greek and Hebrew word used in the Bible. He listed passages from the Bible grouped according to the English word used in the King James Translation, but he also attached the number key for the word in the original text of each passage listed. Users do not need to know how to read the Greek or Hebrew alphabets, nor how to pronounce the original words. They need only find all entries with the same number and compare those. Since the advent of computers, there are many programs that help you do this electronically. What took hours with a bound paper concordance now takes minutes with a computer program.

Step 2: I recommend e-Sword.

Picture of I recommend e-Sword.
e-Sword is a very fine piece of free Bible software available at www.e-sword.net. Click on Downloads at the top of the page (lime green hotlink as shown at the top of the graphic). Download the basic module for Windows. (e-Sword is not available for Macintosh or for Linux.)
Raphango1 year ago
Whoa! Great instructable! May the Lord pour His blessings on you and your family!
cmcnair2 years ago
This is an incredible Instructable, and you've just supplied me with the tools and information I need to attempt something I've been wanting to do for over a decade-try to translate the New (& Old) Testaments from their original languages. Thank you so much! I only have one or two questions for you....
Your article was written in 2009, it is currently May of 2012. Even in just three short years technology has advanced in so many ways-I wonder if you haven't discovered other resources that make this process even more approachable? I don't necessarily have what you'd call a "knack" for learning other languages & I have a feeling I'm going to need all the help I can get here. ;-)
please don't think I'm taking your amazing work for granted-I've been reading over your instructions time & time again with excitement and anticipation; I just thought I'd "check in" to make sure everything is up-to-date before embarking on such a possibly-overwhelming (but thoroughly satisfying) task.
Thank you again and I can't wait to explore the rest of your Instructables!
Phil B (author)  cmcnair2 years ago
Thank you for looking at this and for commenting. e-Sword is still a very good resource for a basic biblical studies tool. Things like word studies and utilizing cross references will always be important. Since the advent of Windows Vista and Windows 7, an updated version of e-Sword is required for these operating systems and must be downloaded from e-Sword's site. Previously an e-Sword user would download additional modules and install them. Now there is a "Download" tab in the menu of the program and new modules are acquired there through your Internet connection. 

The NET Study Bible site has upgraded its online study Bible to include many more resources. If you are interested in practicing biblical Greek or Hebrew, it is easy to select the NET's English text in the left window and the original language text in the right window. Move the cursor over a Greek or Hebrew word and it turns to a yellow highlight. The words in the English text which come from that word are also blocked in yellow on the left side. In addition, a paragraph containing the Strong's dictionary definition appears at the bottom of the right side half of the page. The Hebrew text is unpointed (no vowel point indicators). That is not a big impairment.

Follow the steps I outlined in using iTunes and you can also download 1st year Hebrew lessons from Concordia Seminary (St. Louis) for free. I did begin to listen to the James Voeltz Greek lessons. Were I to do it again, I believe I would get the video version so I could see what he is writing on the chalkboard. In the first of three discs (as I burned the discs) he spent most of his time on the accents of Greek words. I kept waiting for him to get to basic verb conjugations and noun declensions, which seem to me to be far more important, at least in my experience learning Greek and attempting to teach it to several people over the years.

For actual translation work I would want some good lexicons that discuss idioms and special uses in detail far greater than what is available in Strong's dictionary.

If you look at the rest of my Instructables, I hope you find some things you enjoy and can use. Thank you again for looking. 
kuptis4 years ago
In response to "Unfortunately, there is no way to copy and paste what is in the Information box to a word processor so you can print it and have a copy next to you for use, other than copying it all by hand."

Actually you CAN copy and paste anything in the information box albeit you have to know the keyboard shortcut keys to do so.

With the Information window open:
1) Scroll down to where you want to start copying.
2) Position the mouse cursor just to the left of the first word and left-click.
3) When you left-click the whole line may or may not then be highlighted; either way, don't be concerned with this one way or the other.
4) Scroll down to where you want to end copying.
5) Hold down the 'Shift' key on the keyboard, place the mouse cursor after the last word, then (with 'Shift' still being pressed) left-click.
6) Everything between where you first left-clicked to where you second left-clicked should be highlighted.

Now in order to actually copy the highlighted section:
1) Press and hold down the 'Ctrl' key then press the 'C' key (CTRL+C for short).
This action copies all text and graphics to what is called the clipboard.

Now open your favorite word processor, choose an insertion point (optional if new document), then press and hold the 'Ctrl' key then press the 'V' key (CTRL+V for short). This pastes from the clipboard what you had just copied to the clipboard.
Phil B (author)  kuptis3 years ago
Thank you for your information. After posting this Instructable I discovered I could also click on the cursor in the window with the parsing information, press Ctrl and hold it while pressing A to highlight the entire document. Then I could use Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard. I have made a change to step 13 accordingly.
Phil B (author) 5 years ago
I finally got through some other Podcasts I downloaded and began to listen to Voelz's New Testament Greek course on Podcast. The audio quality so far is better than some other series that I have heard from very reputable sources. For anyone who wants to use Voelz to learn New Testament Greek, I would say do not obsess to much about the rules for accenting Greek words. That material is very, very technical. In my experience we spent an early lesson or two on it. But, after that we seldom referred to it. Just realize there are such things as accent marks and sometimes you need to watch them closely so you can distinguish two very different words that are otherwise identical in their spelling. I am listening in MP3 audio. At times Voelz writes something on the chalkboard that would be handy to see. If you also use the MP3 audio files, you might want to follow in the textbook. Or, you might want to get the video files, if you have a player that can handle them.
static5 years ago
Wow! this has to be THE instructable that by far would take the most effort to put use. Not a criticism, just an observation. Hopefully many can put your effort to good use.
Phil B (author)  static5 years ago
I was required to study New Testament Greek in order to go to a seminary and become a pastor. By the time I left college I had almost enough credits in Greek for a major. Yes, it does take a lot of time. In addition to vocabulary and grammar to learn, there are also many verb conjugations to learn, both regular (easier) and irregular (more difficult to keep straight and recall on the spot). Still, I meet lay people who really want to learn Greek so they can have a really good personal tool for studying the New Testament. I have taught several people, myself. A lot depends on their own level of commitment, but I had one lady translating the readings we use in our church each week after less than a year of meeting once a week for a about 90 minutes a session.
dldeskins5 years ago
Very good! When I saw the title, I was expecting a "hidden agenda". Instead, I got a very good tutorial!
Phil B (author)  dldeskins5 years ago
Thank you. I wondered how this Instructable would be received. I was very surprised when an editor gave it Featured status. I expect many think dealing with biblical studies is full of hocus-pocus. While this will not be everyone's cup of tea, I am hopeful it will be useful to those who are interested and give them some helpful tools appropriate to their individual level of interest.
. Whether one is a Believer or not, it's still an exceptionally well done iBle. ;)
prestux5 years ago
Very nice Instructable, Thanks!
Phil B (author)  prestux5 years ago
You are welcome. I am glad you found something of benefit in it. Thank you.
To those who are interested in The Old Testament, you can use your Greek knowledge to delve deeper by reading The Septuagint, an early translation of The Hebrew Bible, which happens to be in Koine Greek. Some believe that the Septuagint is more accurate in some respects. Whether it is or not, I have found reading The Septuagint in Greek has been enlightening while reading The New Testament. It is likely that the authors of The New Testament were reading The Septuagint. For example the first line of John is "En arche ho logos." But the first line of Genesis in The Septuagint is "En arche epoiesen ho theos." With this correlation one might conclude that The Gospel of John eludes to Genesis in it's treatment of "the word" or "ho logos."
Phil B (author)  Eternal_Tristan5 years ago
You make good points. The vocabulary of the Septuagint provides a background for that of the New Testament, and using the Septuagint becomes a valuable resource for understanding many things in the New Testament. At the same time, common Greek words in the New Testament sometimes have a surprising twist in their use and meaning in the Septuagint. Someone wanting to read the Septuagint generally needs a different lexicon (dictionary) than he uses for the New Testament. In the mid-1990s the German Bible Society (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft) in Stuttgart published A Greek - English Lexicon of the Septuagint. It has been listed on Amazon. Learning biblical Greek can become a very expensive hobby! The books one buys are not cheap.

Also, 'logos' (word) in John 1:1 has a background as a philosophical concept in the Greek and Jewish thought of the Hellenistic period (centuries just before Christ in which it referred to the creative intelligence that made and sustains the universe. In John 1 the Evangelist says Jesus in the one who made and sustains the universe.

By the way, the e-Sword Bible program I mentioned has a free module for the Rahlffs edition of the Septuagint complete with accent and breathing marks.
Gjdj35 years ago
Cool! It looks like you spent a lot of time working on this. 5 Stars!
Phil B (author)  Gjdj35 years ago
Thank you.
dunnos5 years ago
Just curious i learn greek in hi8gh school that isn't spoken anymore (ancient greek) is this the same?
Phil B (author)  dunnos5 years ago
Ancient Greek is probably what is technically Attic Greek from the 5th Century BC. It is the language of Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon, Pindar, Euripides, and so on. The New Testament was written in a form of Greek that had changed considerably over the centuries. But, there is a tremendous overlap between Classical (Attic) Greek and New Testament Greek. I have met classics students who read the New Testament in Greek just for relaxation. Classical Greek is much more difficult than New Testament Greek, but good training for New Testament Greek. I liken the changes that took place from the one leading up to the other as like the difference in English between the founding fathers and today's English. Reading Jefferson or Adams or Franklin often sounds very strange and makes your head hurt. Language changes over time, and that is why we need to go back to original sources, like the Greek New Testament, regularly.
skunkbait5 years ago
This is EXCELLENT!!!!!! I read Koine (a bit), but I really need to keep working on it. I've never really studied it on the internet, and these are some great tools. I probably spend an hour or so a week wrestling with it, but these will really help. Usually I just cover up the translation in my interlinear, and then uncover it to see how close I got. (On familiar topics my vocabulary is about 60%) Then I go to my lexicon to learn the words I missed. Mostly I need to go back and brush up on my tenses. Thank you SO MUCH!!!
Phil B (author)  skunkbait5 years ago
I saw a posting from you in "the Christians" and read your profile. I remember you mentioned being fluent in the local language used in New Guinea and that you expend some effort to use your Koine' Greek.

It always seemed to me that an Interlinear text could be an aid to learning, not just a way some might cheat on assignments. Undoubtedly you have heard the axiom that spending 15 minutes a day on something will make you an expert in five years. 15 minutes a day reading the New Testament in Greek would help someone hone his abilities greatly. When I was in my first year Greek course I decided I would write and say as much of the verb system as we had covered every night. I got "A"s until I slacked off on doing that.

I have downloaded Voelz's classroom lectures from the Concordia Seminary page at iTunesU, but have not listened to them, yet. Some Podcast series from Concordia have occasionally had files without any audio. I wrote to them about that and they promised to correct it, but the files I downloaded later were still without any sound. I hope that is not the case with any of the Greek lessons.

Also, I read the reviews on Voelz's book at Amazon. They are mostly by former students who say it is very confusing unless you are taking a class with him. Then they consider it a valuable resource. I am hoping the classroom lectures available through iTunesU make the book a valuable resource for those who use it. Some recommended a beginning grammar by William D. Mounce. When I was in school we used J. Gresham Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners. I always liked its presentation and the many exercises at the end of each chapter. Over the years I have taught NT Greek to a few interested individuals and we used Machen.

If you google "New Testament Greek on-line" you get a surprising number of hits. I think the parsing feature in the Westcott-Hort module for e-Sword is just a tremendous resource for a person to have and use, and it is free!
NachoMahma5 years ago
. Wow! Fantastic job. IIRC, this is the first iBle I've rated a 5.
Phil B (author)  NachoMahma5 years ago
Thank you. While others were watching the Rose Parade from Pasadena yesterday, I was patiently trying to write and publish this thing, although I had been thinking about it for a long time.